Michigan’s back-up QB steps up, Gophers lose 35-13

Nov 3, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson (9) runs past Michigan Wolverines defensive end Craig Roh (88) for a two yard gain in the first half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

No Denard Robinson, no problem.

Backup quarterback Devin Gardner started in place of Robinson, the injured star quarterback for Michigan, and led the Wolverines to a 35-13 road win against the Gophers.

Gardner, a junior from Detroit, was able to make plays with his feet, extending plays and finding open receivers after the play had broken down. He found receiver Drew Dileo for a 45-yard strike in the second quarter for Michigan’s first touchdown.

Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson did not match his upstart performance against Purdue last week, completing only 13-of-29 passes for 141 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions.

Running backs Donnell Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams ran for 51 and 38 yards, respectively. Nelson also added 44 yards on 13 attempts.

The game was a good showing of the improvements the Gophers have made since last year’s meeting with Michigan, in which the Gophers lost 58-0.

But despite Robinson’s absence in this game in contrast to last year’s game at Michigan, Gardner filled in perfectly, completing 12-of-18 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while also rushing for a touchdown.

Questionable play calls by the Gophers may have made this outcome closer than it was. Failed fourth-down conversions, including an awful field goal fake on 4th-and-16 left points on the field.

Minnesota falls to 5-4 with a 1-4 Big Ten Conference record while Michigan is now 6-3 with a 4-1 conference record.

The Gophers travel to play Illinois next week with three more games left on the schedule.

Topics: Football, Minnesota, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Philip Nelson

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